Methods of Freezing Spinach
Popeye was on to something when he would down cans of spinach for strength. Spinach is one of the most nutrient-rich vegetables you can eat, containing high amounts of body-strengthening vitamins and minerals, such as iron, and vitamins K and A.
According to World's Healthiest Foods, spinach provides more nutrients per calorie than any other food. To store spinach long-term, you must freeze it. There are several methods of freezing spinach, depending on what you plan on using it for.
Blanching and Freezing
Wash the spinach thoroughly to remove any dirt and grime. Bring a pot of water to boil. Add the spinach and cook for two minutes. Remove immediately and plunge into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain and dry the spinach with paper towels. Place the spinach in freezer-safe plastic bags and remove as much air as possible out of the bags and place in the freezer to store.
Steaming and Freezing
Instead of placing the spinach directly in boiling water, you are going to put it in a steamer basket suspended above the water in the pot. There should only be enough water to reach just below the steamer basket. After bringing the water to a boil, add the spinach to the basket and cover the pot with a lid. Let it steam for two to four minutes or until the leaves are wilted, then remove and plunge in the bowl of ice water. According to food specialist Dr. Pamela L. Brandy, less nutrients and flavour are lost by steam blanching rather than water blanching.
Tray Pack and Freeze
For this method, the leaves should be thoroughly dried after washing. Spread the spinach leaves out onto clean baking trays in a single layer. Place the trays in the freezer until the spinach is fully frozen. Remove from the freezer, pack the spinach in a plastic freezer container and place back in the freezer. With this method, the leaves will be loose and not stuck together so that you can take only what you need when you are ready to thaw and cook the spinach.
Rinse and Freeze
Although it will not last as long in the freezer as blanched spinach, you can freeze raw, fresh spinach. Thoroughly wash the spinach and blot dry as much as you can. Chop up the leaves if you wish and add them to freezer-safe plastic bags and place in the freezer. The freezer air will eventually damage the cell walls of the raw spinach, discolouring it and making it lose its firmness, so you won't enjoy it fresh. You can add this spinach to a baked dish or scrambled eggs.